Check Out the National Dance Week Poster and Essay Contest Winners!

National Dance Week has come and gone, but there's still NDW stuff to be celebrated: The winners of its essay and poster contests were recently announced. Congrats to Taylor Mason, Autumn Endris and Alonni Reid on their prize posters, and to Esmeralda Ramos and Julia Andretta on their top essays! Check out their winning submissions below.

(A quick refresher: Essays were supposed to answer one of two prompts—"Why is dance so important in your life and how has it helped you in other aspects of your life?" or "Why is dance important enough to both individuals and communities that we should we take a week to celebrate it?"—and posters were supposed to address the topic, "What does dance look like?")

Taylor Mason

Autumn Endris

Alonni Reid

Esmeralda Ramos

It is hard for me to describe what dance has given me. I consider myself clumsy and not the best dancer but really I do not think that matters anymore. Dance has just given me that confidence.

Why is dance important to me and how does it affect other aspects of my life? Dance was never an option for me. I was so afraid of other people looking at me, watching me speak and definitely I would of never thought I would ever dance in front of a crowd, but guess what? For some reason I was put in this position and I am so thankful for whatever the reason was that put me here. I do not consider myself a great dancer but I just fell in love with dancing. Dance just boosted my confidence from 0-100.

When I walk in the studio I just leave everything at the door, I forget about all my problems, all my worries, and I just dance it all away, and suddenly I realize all my pressure and problems are gone. As I walk out my problems do not come back. They just disappear.  Dance had taught me many things; one of all those things I learned is how to manage my problems. If only I would have known dance was going to change my life so much in such a positive way...

Dance is important to me for so many reasons, because it helps me relax, it relieves my stress, my pressure, it gave me the confidence I need and even a different lifestyle.

Julia Andretta

I am a dancer. I do not dance because I want to, I do it because I need to. I tell a story through the movements of my body. I dance because it takes my mind off tings for a while. I get this amazing feeling through the movements of my arms, and from the rhythm of the music. I am an artist, athlete, and a dreamer.

Every time I dance, I turn into a better person. Dance temporarily takes away the pain of harsh world, outside of those studio windows. Dance enables me to find myself but to also lose myself at the same time. Dance helps you express yourself through music, without being judged. The world doesn’t care if you can’t dance, excellent dancers are not great because of their technique, they are excellent because of their passion to dance. Passion is a natural feeling/ emotion we get when musical notes flow through your mind.

The music empowers you to dance, no matter how your feeling. There is many styles of dance that help you express your feelings. For example, I love performing lyrical, if I have had a rough month, or so. The music speaks to me. The music lets me feel the moment, and within that moment you create a sculpture of yourself that lasts for a lifetime. Studies show that dance is a therapeutic activity that helps with mind, and body actions. Dance helps me calm down after a stressful day. To me, dance acts as a companion who always understands.

Students who dance communicate with the music, and movements in ways non- dancers can understand. Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain. Dancing makes dreams come true, whether it be to win, to fly, to conquer, or to thrive.

Dancing is dreaming on your feet.

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